Organizers of the Black Ships Festival today announced that they have postponed the 2020 edition of the festival.

“The Executive Committee of the Japan-America Society of Rhode Island has been closely monitoring the status of the Corona-virus (COVID 19) pandemic and how it is impacting our world.  As always, our goal is to build on the foundation of friendship, culture, goodwill and economic partnership between Rhode Island and Japan. In view of the current safety challenges facing all partners, we have decided to cancel the Black Ships Festival scheduled for June 12-14, 2020. This difficult decision was made in the interest of protecting our members and guests during this troubling time”, a statement from organizers states.

The Black Ships Festival was scheduled to host a variety of events in Bristol and Newport that emphasize both Japanese art and culture. Events were to include a formal Gala, Japanese Arts & Crafts such as Origami and Ikebana; Martial Arts, and a Japanese Tea Ceremony. A highlight will be the Taiko Drums! 

There is hope that the festival may go on later this year;

 “We will closely monitor events as they unfold with the hope of re-scheduling the Black Ships Festival to a future date at the end of the Summer/ Early Fall to continue to honor the special relationship between Japan, Bristol, Newport and all of Rhode Island” the statement concludes. 

As of today, Newport Shimoda Sister City Celebration, scheduled for July 11 – 14, has not announced or posted about a cancellation or postponement.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.